Shanghai aims to return to normal life from June after the hard blockade of COVID-19

Shanghai has laid out plans for a return to a more normal life from June 1 and an end to a painful COVID-19 lockdown that lasted more than six weeks and contributed to a sharp slowdown in Chinese economic activity.

In the clearest calendar so far, Deputy Mayor Zong Ming said Shanghai’s reopening would be phased, with movement limits largely in place until May 21 to prevent a rebound in infections, before a gradual easing. .

“From June 1 to mid to late June, as long as the risks of a rebound in infections are controlled, we will fully implement epidemic prevention and control, normalize management and fully restore normal production and life in the city,” he said. Monday.

Aerial view of three police cars on a suburban street.

Police officers patrol a street in Yangpu in Shanghai, China on May 14, 2022. sources: Getty / VCG

the and the brake on hundreds of millions of consumers and workers in dozens of other cities has hurt retail sales, industrial production and employment, increasing fears that the economy may contract in the second quarter.

The severe restrictions, increasingly at odds with the rest of the world, which lifted COVID-19 rules even as infections spread, are also sending shockwaves through global supply chains and international trade.

Beijing, which has encountered dozens of new cases almost every day since April 22, offers a strong indication of how difficult it is to deal with the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

The capital has not imposed a citywide lockdown, but it has tightened curbs to the point that road traffic levels in Beijing slipped to levels comparable to Shanghai last week, according to GPS data from the Chinese internet giant. Baidu.

On Sunday, Beijing extended work-from-home guidance into four districts. It had already banned food service in restaurants and curtailed public transport, among other measures.

In Shanghai, the deputy mayor said the city will begin reopening supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies from Monday, but many traffic restrictions must remain in place until at least May 21.

Shanghai reported fewer than 1,000 new cases for May 15, all within areas under the strictest controls.

Beijing reported 54 new cases, up from 41.